Store employees have described an atmosphere of increased tension and stress as they wait for the impending announcement and what it could bring
Despite the frigid temperatures, some workers are expecting violence even worse than the looting and isolated rioting this past summer, if prosecutors don’t indict Darren Wilson, the local police officer who shot and killed the unarmed teen in August.
Businesses here are preparing for the worst, now that Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and protesters are planning action ahead of a looming grand jury decision. While a grand jury vote had been expected as early as Saturday in the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, sources told NBC News that the grand jury now is planning to meet on Monday.
Some schools in the Ferguson area are closing their doors this week in anticipation of potential violence. Churches in the area have also said they will open and serve as safe spaces for those seeking refuge in the event of unrest.
In Clayton, MO, where the grand jury decision will be announced, officials issued an e-mail update saying additional steps were being taken to secure buildings in the city, including a temporary restriction of traffic in the area.
Demonstrations have been ongoing even in the lead-up to the grand jury decision. Three men were arrested on Friday night in Ferguson after approximately 160 protesters blocked traffic on West Florissant and South Florissant streets, according to the St. Louis County Police Department.
Separately, two men who were taken into custody Friday in Missouri on gun charges are now being investigated on suspicion of trying to purchase explosives to detonate during protests in Ferguson.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told MSNBC earlier that Wilson would be legally entitled to return to the force if the grand jury does not indict him.
Jackson added that Wilson would be subject to an internal review, the results of which may or may not lead to the officer’s termination. Jackson said he had only spoken to Wilson once since the incident in August, adding that it remained unclear whether Wilson would want to rejoin the police department.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Brown family, told MSNBC’s Richard Lui Saturday that the family is exploring “all legal avenues” in the case, including a civil lawsuit against the officer. “Make no mistake about it, they sincerely want the killer of their child held accountable.
They are going look for positive solutions to change things so this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child.”
-Tamara El (@_SheWise_)